As a student dietitian I was really excited to be given the opportunity to attend the Woolworths Delicious Nutritious Product Launch in Pyrmont, Sydney. My job was to report back to you the readers what I learnt all about the new product range, so you can decide if you want to try or use these new ready made meals as part of your daily healthy eating plan.
What is the Woolworths Delicious Nutritious range?
Woolworths has teamed up with Michelle Bridges to create 8 nutritionally balanced frozen meals that will be available in Woolworths stores from the 19th October 2015. The product range includes:
- Beef and Tomato Casserole
- Italian Style Chicken
- Mild Massaman Beef
- Asian Style Chicken
- Spicy Chimichurri Beef and Vegetables
- Moroccan Style Chickpea Tagine
- Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Salmon Fish Cakes
The meals are targeted the average Australian adult.The Delicious Nutritious meal range reflects what is currently happening in cafes and restaurants in Australia to provide a modern eat.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are single-serve frozen meals, all ready in less than 9 minutes, with separate components that require different heating instructions. This ensures that the meal components retain their delicious flavour and crisp texture.
The Delicious Nutritious meals have a storage life of 9 months in the freezer and because they are frozen meals they will achieve national distribution and be able to reach everyone in Australia.
A point I really liked was that the meals are all made in Australia. All beef and chicken is Australian and due to seasonality and consistency the vegetables are sourced from Australia and overseas. From a food sustainability perspective this is great because it means less food miles and supports local farmers and businesses.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are priced at $7.99/meal with a special promotion price of $6/meal on the 11th November 2015, available in Woolworths across Australia.
Woolworths wanted to make this partnership with Michelle because she is a household name and is known for her work in health and fitness. She is trusted, credible, positive and promotes healthy living. In fact, Woolworths was so confident in the product range that they invested in more factories just to produce the Delicious Nutritious meal range.
Why did Woolworths want to create the Delicious Nutritious range?
It is no secret that some frozen meals currently available are lacking in taste, they’re visually unappealing, lacking in nutrition, contain additives and reconstituted meat. The aim of the Delicious Nutritious range is therefore to provide a healthy frozen meal option and assist in making healthy eating easy.
The statistics around eating habits across Australia are alarming. They estimated that:
- 9/10 Australian’s don’t eat enough vegetables.
- 6/10 are overweight.
- 6/10 don’t eat enough fibre.
Convenience is also the major driver of meal choice so there was a need to make ‘convenience’ foods healthy. The goal of the Delicious Nutrition range is to change the Australian public’s perception of frozen meals and to debunk the myth that healthy eating is hard.
There are 3 pillars that underpin the Delicious Nutritious range and these are:
- Build awareness (of healthy eating and it’s importance).
- Change perception (that healthy eating is hard).
- Drive trial (trying is believing).
What did Michelle Bridges have to say about ‘inspiring change’ through the Delicious Nutritious Range?
Michelle Bridges explained that when trying to help people lead a healthier life and make positive changes, there is a need to target the way they think and help them to see things from a different perspective.
The Delicious Nutritious meals encourage a mindset shift, such as frozen food can be just as good, or better than fresh food and you can obtain protein from sources (such as chickpeas) other than meat.
Michelle Bridges and Woolworths know the reality that people don’t cook from scratch every night and so the Delicious Nutritious meals are a quick and healthy meal option to make sure the wheels don’t fall off by providing a back-up plan.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are in no way a replacement for freshly-cooked, home made meals, rather a strategy to stay on top of your health, particularly on those nights when you get home late, there is no food in the house and you don’t want to order a pizza or take-away. This is a wonderful idea, often I hear people struggle with the idea that eating at home is more time consuming than ordering takeaway. This is especially true after a long day at work. Having a back up plan, like having some frozen meals in the fridge is a easy way to avoid getting takeaway.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are therefore a stepping-stone in helping people lead a healthier, happier life and they will assist Australians to achieve a healthier way of eating.
Product review of Delicious Nutritious meals
From a nutrition perspective, the Delicious Nutritious meals look set to become the superheroes of the frozen meal market. Each Delicious Nutritious meal:
- Contains at least 3 serves of vegetables.
- Is less than 450 calories.
- Contains 20-25g protein/meals (and includes legumes such as chickpeas to boost protein content).
- Is a good or excellent source of fibre.
- Contains less than 900mg sodium per meal.
- Contains no genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
- Is RSPCA-friendly.
I think one of the highlights of the Delicious Nutritious range is that there is no added salt, sugar or additives in the entire range, which is outstanding considering the meals are a processed product. Strong-flavoured ingredients are used instead of salt and flavourings and even apple juice is used for sweetening instead of sugar.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are also portion-controlled. As you can see in the photo you get a decent serving of the meal. The protein content helps to keep you full and the meals demonstrate what an appropriate portion size of meat, vegetables and grains should look like.
How do the Delicious Nutritious meals taste?
Typically when you eat a frozen meal you’re not expecting a gourmet experience. Usually the food looks bland, there may be a watery consistency after you heat it, the vegetables may have a sloppy texture (if you can find any that is). Normally you accept that because you’re eating a frozen meal for convenience. You justify this trade off and compromise on quality and taste.
When I said before that the Delicious Nutritious meals are a game changer this is what I mean; they really are delicious. I had the pleasure of tasting 6 out of the 8 meals in the range and it was like I was having lunch out at a restaurant.
The meals tasted fresh and homemade, the meat was flavoursome, the sauce was incredible (without all the nasties such as added salt and flavours) and you could actually see the vegetables!
Not only could you see the vegetables but they also had an amazing fresh flavour, bright colour and crisp texture. One of the meals that I believe was a standout was the pesto chicken pasta. I am a massive pasta fan but I’m often left disappointed by frozen pasta meals; the sauce sometimes goes hard when you cook it, there’s too much pasta and not enough meat or vegetables. And, I personally have a full stodgy feeling after eating it. This pasta meal was the absolute opposite and again, it tasted restaurant-quality.
Comparison of Delicious Nutritious Meals to different frozen meals brands
I have broken this down to the nutrients you get per serving (i.e. how much food you actually get) and because the serving sizes are not standardised, a comparison per 100g. It is useful to use per 100g to compare similar products, that way your comparison is standardised.
|Delicious Nutritious: Asian Style Chicken|
|Per Serve (375g)||1220kJ||20.3g||9.8g||1.9g||26.3g||14.3g||525mg|
|Lean Cuisine: Balanced Serve Satay Chicken Noodles|
|Per Serve (300g)||1370kJ
|Delicious Nutritious: Chicken Pesto Pasta|
|Per Serve (390g)||1610kJ||26.5g||15.2g||6.2g||30.8g||9.0g||585mg|
|McCain Healthy Choice: Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli|
|Per Serve (390g)||1770kJ||14.8g||10.9g||4.7g||62.4g||12.9g||741mg|
Both of the Delicious Nutritious meals included in the table above are lower in total energy than the meals they were compared to, which is useful if you are trying to lose weight. However, both Delicious Nutritious meals are higher in fat that the other meals analysed.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are higher in protein, which is important in increasing feelings of fullness to prevent overeating and therefore help with weight control. They are also lower in carbohydrates, which is useful for people who are insulin resistant or have Type 2 diabetes.
The Delicious Nutritious meals are lower in sodium, which is helpful if you are looking for frozen meals with lower sodium content then others on the market. The Delicious Nutritious meals analysed in the table provide approximately 35% of the recommended sodium intake for individuals with hypertension who are following a reduced-sodium diet (1550mg sodium/day).
The Delicious Nutritious meals are slightly more expensive than other Frozen Meal brands on the market, such as Lean Cuisine (average: $6.26) and McCain Healthy Choice (average: $6.79), however in some cases you receive larger quantities in the Delicious Nutritious meals than cheaper brands and so I believe the price is warranted.
The range contains 8 meals and so could be considered more limited than other frozen meal brands on the market. However, the meal range is highly varied and will bring a lot of excitement to the current market.
I would recommend the Woolworths Delicious Nutritious meals for lunch or dinner as they are a complete meal, and you can also use strategies to increase the nutrient content of these meals and increase their bulk, such as by adding extra vegetables.
Personally, I am really excited for the meal range to hit stores and I will definitely be putting a few in my freezer for those days when I need a quick, easy and convenient meal that is truly Delicious and Nutritious!
About the Author
Hannah Brown is a Final Year Nutrition and Dietetics Honours student from the University of Newcastle, who will be graduating at the end of 2015.
Hannah has a passion for helping individuals lead healthier and happier lives through informed food and lifestyle choices as well as through the support to achieve personal goals. You can connect with Hannah on Twitter: @DietitianHannah or Instagram: HANNAHMBROWN_
*Note this is not a sponsored post. A taste test of the new products where provided for free for our attendance at the product launch.